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Keikaku Interview 2007 US Tour

  • You've had a variety of projects this year, like working on a movie and a TV show. What was it like making an album in the midst of that?

    Yoko: The songs we did for that movie and TV show are on this album, but that did make it harder to put together. In that way, I suppose it was harder to make this album than usual.

  • Did you get any inspiration from working on those other projects?

    Yoko: Well, not out of the actual production of the songs for those projects, but I think they were inspiring experiences.

  • I've heard that you usually start from a general image when you're making an album; what was the image you used for this one?

    Yoko: I started with the title, "Metropolis." I wanted to have songs that sort of looked at the world in a way that matched that. No, wait, that might not be it. (laughs)

  • So, what does the word "Metropolis" mean to you?

    Yoko: On our West coast tour last year, I saw the San Francisco city lights at night, and it looked really amazing, like... I don't know, like a space station. That's when I thought up the title, you know, to represent something wonderful, or something big, or... you know. (laughs)

  • What about you, Ikuno? You've been doing two songs for each of the recent albums.

    Ikuno: Oh, I did two songs for this one as well.

  • Did you work from the same image?

    Ikuno: I don't think I'd heard what the title was when I wrote them. Had I?
    Yoko: No, you hadn't. (laughs)
    Ikuno: So I think I just wrote them like I usually do. Just, you know, "how about this?"

  • Just sort of on your own?

    Ikuno: Yes. But I did think about balancing out the songs on the album, and things like that.

  • I've heard your using a Korg D4 digital recorder for your shows now. Could you talk a little bit about that? What are you using it for?

    Ayumi: Well, we have the sound staff set it up to play along with us as we're performing.
    Ikuno: We use that for the synthesizer parts.

  • So you're using it because you've got more synthesizer in this album than you've had before?

    Yoko: Yes.

  • Are you using any new pedals or effectors in addition to that?

    Yoko: Those are mostly the same. We actually use a fair amount of synthesizer normally, but there are a lot of songs on this album where the synthesizer stands out.

  • Were you going for a futuristic sound, since the title was "Metropolis"?

    Yoko: No, it's more that the kind of sound I like now is one that uses synthesizer more.

  • What kind of sound? Could you give a band as an example?

    Yoko: Well, I like C.S.S. lately. Do you know them?

  • I think so. They're from Brazil, right?

    Yoko: Right. So we haven't gone towards that sound completely, but I thought that a sound with more synthesizer would work for the Noodles as we are now.

  • By the way, if you're using the usual pedals, what are those?

    Yoko: The one I'm using all the time now is a handmade Dyna Red from Sweden. I like that one. Other than that, we use the usual distortion ones, I think.

  • You've been doing tours in the US for five years now, is that right?

    Yoko: Isn't it six?
    Ikuno: I thought it was four.
    Yoko: Well, let's say four or five.

  • OK, so you've been doing tours here for four or five years. What do you think about the shows you've done here, and how people listen to music? Are they any different from Japan?

    Yoko: I noticed from the first time we came here that the way people appreciate music in America is completely different from the way people do in Japan. It's very free. I like that. Um... that's all. (laughs)

  • Anyone else?

    Ikuno: I think maybe adults listen to rock music more in America than in Japan.
    Yoko: Yeah, in Japan, rock music is for kids, or for young people, so when people grow up they stop listening to it.
    Ikuno: But adults who listen to rock music blend right in over here. They're accepted. The other thing is that shows are more expensive in Japan. I guess that makes it something special to go to a show in Japan, but in America it's more common and everyday. At least, that's how it seems. I haven't lived here, so I don't really know.

  • No, that sounds right. Ayumi, did you want to say anything?

    Ayumi: Oh, uh... (laughs)

  • Sorry, I know you're answering last.

    Ayumi: Well, let's see, I think there's a lot more music playing just in daily life. In Japan, things get sorted really strictly by genre, I mean…I guess people choose a specific thing that they want to listen to and go with that. But here it seems like it's just sort of naturally part of life, mixed in with everything.

  • What it's like performing in America, considering that you were influenced by a lot of American bands?

    Yoko: We do have a lot of songs with English lyrics, right? So I feel a little embarrassed about that. But it feels really great to be in a country so far away and still have people come to see us play, still like our music.

  • You've been playing together for 16 years. Is there anything you've realized about being in a band, or playing music, in that time?

    Yoko: Hmm.

  • Sorry, I know it's a broad question.

    Yoko: Well, sixteen years or seventeen years is a really long time. And people talk a lot about how great we are for being together that long. When that started I didn't think it was that big a deal that we just kept going on, but lately I've started to think that maybe it is. I think playing music as a band, several people doing the same thing together, is really difficult, but it's also really fun.

  • Would anyone else like to add something to that?

    Ayumi: Um, that's OK. (laughs)

  • OK, we'll move on. When did you realize you wanted to be musicians?

    Yoko: I've wanted to since I was a kid.
    Ikuno: When I was 22, I sort of thought it up, I guess.

  • What did you want to do before that?

    Ikuno: In high school I wanted to get into computer graphics, so I went to a school for that and found work that way, but in the middle of that I somehow ended up wanting to play music instead. So I went out and bought an instrument. (laughs)

  • Had you already played something when you were working on CG?

    Ikuno: No, I hadn't played anything at all then.

  • What about you, Ayumi?

    Ayumi: At first, I wanted to be involved with music in the background, working on sound systems or as an engineer. I'd known I wanted to do something with music since I was little, but I wanted to do it in that way. I really liked fiddling with fader switches. And then I suddenly got to know the other band members, and got invited to play with them.

  • Do you still fiddle around with those switches, like during recordings?

    Ayumi: (laughs) Not now, I don't. I just watch.

  • Well, to finish, is there anything you'd like to say to your fans overseas?

    Yoko: Hmm.

  • Sorry, that's another broad question.

    Yoko: Well, the first day of our tour over here is the release date for our new album, Metropolis. So it's not on sale over in America yet, but I'd like you to listen to it however you can.

  • OK. Thank you very much.

    Yoko, Ayumi, Ikuno: Thank you very much.

  • Source: Keikaku